homeless

It was with heavy hearts that Scott Treadway (Rancho Community Church), and Jim Palmer (Orange County Rescue Mission) announced at a community forum on Thursday evening, August 27th, that the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission was pulling its application for the proposed Summerhouse project. For Jen and I it just felt so wrong, thus the title of this post. But we trust that God has a plan to help the least, the last, and the lost and we will continue to support any effort to do so.

I don’t have all the inside information, and legal details that go along with this – but I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happened, and at the very least I have my first hand experiences at both the meeting hosted at Rancho Community Church last Tuesday and the Community meeting at the CRC last Thursday. Also, I need to say that I am not speaking on behalf of Rancho Community or the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission – these are just my thoughts.

We have a mandate (especially if you are a Christian) to help the poor.
We have poor and homeless people and families in Temecula (and Murrieta, and every surrounding community).
We have chronically homeless people, we have people who have made terrible choices with their lives, we have people who have just run into impossible situations and have been left with nothing (and everything in between).
All of these people need help.
The Summerhouse project (the 20 unit portion) was designed to take in “Families” in transition. This is where I think people have been mis-informed. These families are the SAME families that were living next door to the SAME people who are protesting. These are families who’s children go to the SAME schools as the people who are protesting. These are people who last year were living in 2000+ square foot homes with two cars, two jobs, and two kids…
The Orange County Rescue mission has a 40+ year successful history of running projects like the proposed Summerhouse (20 Unit) project. They have a comprehensive system that they run families through to give them transitional housing, resource them, and get them back into the middle class society.
I think what people don’t understand, or won’t understand is that homeless families are in Temecula right now. One of the arguments was that this project would attract homeless; they are here now. And now we have no solution for families, other than local people giving of their personal homes & finances.
Today I’m sad. Sad because our community failed to recognize and act together to meet the need of families in our own neighborhoods. No wonder there’s no peace amongst nations – we can’t even get it right with those people we see, live with, and work with everyday.
I’m also sad because fear overcame hope this week in Temecula. Fear of the unknown, fear of giving, fear of opening our hands and sharing our “neighborhood” with those less fortunate, fear of living a life of meaning – helping people around us.
But I am hopeful, because I believe in a God of restoration and my family and I will continue to work and pray for God’s Kingdom to come on Earth…
If you are feeling like I am, I would encourage you to a) pray (for our city, the opposition, the homeless, the rescue mission) b) write a letter to the city council members showing your support for projects like Summerhouse, and c) volunteer at the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission by contacting David Jones at 951.252.1200 or email him.

*Updated*

Here’s a couple links to some other blog posts on Summerhouse:

James Doezie http://jamesdoezie.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/if-we-have-received-mercy/
Rich Kirkpatrick http://www.richkirkpatrick.com/rich_kirkpatricks_weblog/2009/08/summerhouse-will-temecula-city-council-cave-in-to-the-misinformed.html